To the Preacher

27 Jul

“To the person that is to be set apart to the sacred work of the gospel ministry this day: Sir, I would now humbly and earnestly recommend to you that Holy Book which God is about to commit into your hands, as containing that message which you are to deliver to this people in his name. God gives you this word–which is his word–to preach that, and not the dictates of your own reason. You are to preach the dictates of God’s infinitely superior understanding, humbly submitting your reason as a learner and disciple to that, renouncing all confidence in your own wisdom and entirely relying on God’s instructions.

God is now about to deliver to you a summary of doctrines already discovered and dictated to your hand, which you are to teach and zealously to maintain. And if the time should come that you should be reproached for so doing, with such kind of reproaches as are in these days commonly cast on such as earnestly preach the mysterious doctrines of revelation, and you should be called a bigoted zealot; one whose zeal runs before your knowledge; one that durst not indulge a freedom of thought; one that dare not presume to think otherwise than your forefathers thought; one of those that judge of God by themselves, that think that God is a morose, ill-natured sort of being because they are so; one that is a person of little sense or reason: if such proud contemptuous reproaches are cast upon you, merely because you rely more on God’s testimony than the dictates of your own reason, the time will soon come when they will be wiped away. Your Lord and Master, that commanded you to preach those doctrines, will defend you and will show in his time who has proceeded with greatest wisdom: you, who have relied on God’s wisdom; or they, who have been wise in their own eyes, and have leaned to their own understanding and have despised others, that han’t trusted more to God’s instructions.”

Jonathan Edwards

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